Pregnancy and Sleep - What You Need to Know

Posted by Pam Johnson - Head of Buying on 12th Oct 2022

Pregnancy and Sleep - What You Need to Know

Whether you’re a first-time mum, or a parenting pro, we’ve some great pregnancy sleep tips and interesting info that could help as your body prepares for your new arrival.

Pregnancy and sleep

As hormones surge and your body adapts to providing for a new little human, your sleep can be affected. You may find that your sleeping patterns change, or that drifting off to sleep just isn’t as easy as it once was. You could even find yourself experiencing the dreaded “restless legs syndrome”. No matter what side-effects of being pregnant you’re experiencing, it’s important to try to alleviate them so you can get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep is essential in allowing your body and mind to recuperate (1), and it’s important that you get as much sleep as possible during all stages of your pregnancy.

If you’re worried about sleep during pregnancy and/or restless leg syndrome, consult your GP or other medical professional.

The importance of sleep during pregnancy

Woman at desk with eyes closed with one hand to her head and the other resting on her large pregnancy bump

According to the Sleep Foundation, most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. During sleep your body recharges, and lack of sleep can lead to memory impairment, inability to concentrate, and physical illnesses. Persistent sleep deprivation can compromise the immune system(2) and it’s obviously important to be as healthy as possible during pregnancy for the good of both the baby and the mother.

Why can sleep change during pregnancy?

One day you’re happily nodding off with very little effort and the next, the most lulling of lullabies can’t help you drift away.

69% of our Pregnancy and Sleep Poll participants told us they got less sleep during pregnancy.

Why is pregnancy sleep so different from pre-pregnancy sleep? Well, usually it’s the symptoms of pregnancy that interfere with sleep.

These symptoms can include:

Breast tenderness and pain

When pregnant, your body is preparing for the arrival of the baby, and this includes the production of breast milk. Hormone production increases, both to help your baby grow and to prepare for milk production. Oestrogen, progesterone, and prolactin are some of the culprits that can cause tender or painful breasts during pregnancy.( 3) Experiencing such pain can mean interrupted sleep or even temporary insomnia as you could find it difficult to get to sleep.

Higher body temperature

Pregant woman fanning herself with a traditional style fan and with one hand on her bump.

The ideal room temperature for sleep is said to be between 16˚-18˚C. Before sleep, your body temperature drops in preparation for melatonin production - the hormone that helps you to sleep.( 4)

67% of our Pregnancy and Sleep poll participants felt hotter during the night while pregnant, meaning a lot of you were feeling the heat when trying to sleep!

According to Hello Motherhood, it’s perfectly normal to experience a slightly higher body temperature than usual.

Some of the reasons for this are:

  • Progesterone can cause your temperature to rise by around 1 degree, making you feel hotter than you may normally feel.
  • You’re growing a baby don’t you know? And with that comes the need for blood being pumped to the growing foetus which in turn can result in increased body temperature. The blood vessels close to the surface of your skin will try to stop you overheating meaning you may feel flushed.

Shop Temperature Regulating Mattresses

Can using a temperature regulating mattress help keep me cool during pregnancy?

iGel™ Advance mattresses are renowned for their temperature regulating properties. The Graphene technology and the new, FreshNow™ moisture wicking technology helps to disperse perspiration, so you feel fresher as you sleep. You can also use iGel pillows that feature the same Graphene technology to regulate temperature. This range even includes pillows specifically created for side sleepers, which is how you’ll want to sleep as your pregnancy progresses.

Pregnancy and sleeping positions

What are the best sleeping positions during pregnancy?

Pregnant woman lying on her left side asleep in bed.

The NHS recommends sleeping on your side when pregnant. This is because studies have shown that there is an increased risk of still-birth when sleeping on your back. As your bump grows, you'll find it very difficult to continue to be a front-sleeper if that was always your preferred sleeping position.

Is it better to sleep on your right side or left side when pregnant?

Sleeping on your right side can make acid reflux worse. This is because it can put pressure on your abdomen and make the lower oesophageal sphincter relax and allow stomach acid to flow upwards towards your throat (5). Therefore, sleeping on your left side is recommended.

Getting used to a different sleeping position during pregnancy

92% of our Pregnancy and Sleep poll participants said they changed their preferred sleeping position during their pregnancy.

If you’re usually a front sleeper you may soon find that it’s pretty darn uncomfortable to keep sleeping that way as your bump grows. Equally if you’re a back sleeper and want to follow the NHS advice that suggests you shouldn’t be sleeping on your back during pregnancy, you’ll need to switch to becoming a side-sleeper.

Changing sleeping positions is all well and good in theory but getting used to a new way of sleeping could mean restlessness and difficulty getting to sleep. But the right pillows and mattress could help to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible.

Shop iGel™ Advance Mattresses

Pregnancy and back pain

Pregnant woman looking pained with both her hands on her back.

You can experience all sorts of aches and pains during pregnancy, including back pain. It’s therefore interesting to note that iGel’s creators, Kaymed, also boast a partnership with the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) (6)

The BCA site states:

“Kaymed has a strong pedigree in the provision of medical grade bedding components to meet the needs of pressure sensitive patients. Their extensive experience in the sleep arena matched well with our wish to support BCA members in the provision of crucial sleep health support for their patients.”

As with any unexplained aches and pains, it’s always advisable to seek medical advice from your GP or other medical professional.

Shop iGel™ Advance Mattresses in partnership with the BCA

Pregnancy and Pillows

62% of you that took part in our Insta Pregnancy and Sleep poll confirmed that you bought new pillows during pregnancy. This may have been because of your need to change sleeping position, or because your current pillows weren’t helping with the increase in body temperature you were experiencing. It may also be because you needed more pillows as you wanted to support your bump as you slept. This can be done by placing a pillow between your knees as you sleep on your side.

Shop iGel™ Pillows

Bensons - Helping you sleep

To find out more about our updated iGel Advance range of temperature regulating mattresses and pillows, take a look at the entire collection now. You can place an order online, instore or by calling one of our friendly team on 0808 144 6160 today.


1 Why Do We Need Sleep? | Sleep Foundation

2 Pregnancy & Sleep: Tips, Sleep Positions, & Issues | Sleep Foundation

3 Sore Breasts in Pregnancy: Causes, Timing, and Coping (

4 Sleep Environment - The Sleep Charity

5 The British Chiropractic Association Announces New Sleep Health Partnership with Kaymed - British Chiropractic Association (

6 Why the right side is the wrong side for sleeping with acid reflux? - Women's Health Bulletin (

Other sources:

Can a Pregnant Woman's Temperature Rise & Fall? (

Tiredness and sleep problems - NHS (

Results of the Bensons for Beds Instagram Poll conducted between 29th September and 30th September 2022.

Did pregnancy affect your sleep? – more sleep – less sleep?

More sleep 10% 11 votes

Less sleep 68% 76 votes

No change 22% 24 votes

Did you feel hotter at night during pregnancy?

Yes 67% 73 votes

No 33% 36 votes

Did your sleeping position change during pregnancy?

Yes 92% 102 votes

No 8% 9 votes

Did you buy any new pillows during pregnancy?

Yes 62% 69 votes

No 38% 42 votes

authors profile
Pam Johnson
Head of Buying
Pam has worked within Bensons for Beds for 16 years and has a great deal of experience in both developing and sourcing new product ranges. As Head of Buying specialising in mattresses, divans and headboards, Pam is dedicated to providing solutions that help customers to get a great night’s sleep.
Read more from Pam